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Rudolf Zeilinger

Although lesser known in British dressage circles, the name Rudolf Zeilinger is well recognized and revered across Europe and the USA for his remarkable and extraordinary skills in producing world class horses and riders including, Michelle Gibson, who fulfilled her dream through training with Rudolf Zeilinger for two years and going on to achieve fifth place for the USA in the Olympic Games.

His first encounter with horses began at the age of three. Growing up on his parent`s farm he would ride with passion on just about any size and temperament of pony he could get his hands on. For the young Rudolf Zeilinger, riding and schooling was great, but there was something else, something tangible yet elusive to his young mind, this was not to be fully realized until 1982. During these formative years he attended training at the National Riding School, gaining the German Riding Badge at the age of thirteen. By the time he reached the age of sixteen, he knew that a future working with horses was all and everything he wanted to do. At just turned sixteen he was accepted into the well known stud’ Trakehnergestuet Hoerstein The emphasis of the course he embarked upon was Pferdewirt which, translated in the context of this article is a technician in horse husbandry and breeding.

Rudolf Zeilinger

After studying theory at Inspan, in 1982 Rudolf Zeilinger went to work for the former coach of the national team Willi Schultheis. It was at this point in his life watching the inimitable style of Willi that he finally realized what it was he was ultimately seeking. In his own words Rudolf Zeilinger said ` Willi had the gift to make horses shine`, truly a gift indeed which Rudolf Zeilinger also naturally possessed. He became a devoted student of the late Willi Schultheis and for the next ten years he would work diligently and tirelessly to learn as much as he could. Again in his own words ` I have so much to learn from him to carry forward, he is and remains my Idol.`

During his time with Willi Schultheis, Rudolf Zeilinger rode in his first s-Dressur at the age of 26 and as a testament to both his natural ability and under the guidance of Willi, after his second competition in 1991 he became Westfaeli vice master. Incredibly only one rider was placed above him, and that was the six gold and two bronze medal winner Dr. Reiner Klimke riding his successful horse Ahlerich. Dr Klimke being the late father of Ingrid Klimke. Zeilinger entered the prestigious Westfaeli championships with just one 7 year old horse. One might say that to go up against such formidable competition would be foolhardy at best, but such is the nature of the man who rides with passion and determination, putting all adversity aside for the love and understanding of the horse and riding.

To achieve his aim, he leased a farmstead primarily concentrating on training horses and riders for dressage, Still closely associated with Willi Schultheis’s yard, Rudolf Zeilinger met Michelle Gibson, a 20yr old American exchange student working with Willi’s wife’s racehorses in exchange for dressage lessons from the master himself. Seeing promise in the youngster whilst also looking for good staff for his new yard, Zeilinger offered her a working student position which she accepted. After two and a half years as a working student with Rudolf Zeilinger, she went back to the US but later returned bringing her stallion Peron. During a further years training with Zeilinger she successfully competed at Germany’s most prestigious and competitive shows. Gibson and Peron won outright at Bremen and Muenster, placed second at Dortmund and placed in the top six at Stuttgart. The scores qualified her for selection trials prior to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where she went on to be part of the USA team achieving Team Bronze. This is just one of many success stories attributed to the unique training methods of a most remarkable man Rudolf Zeilinger.

Today Rudolf Zeilinger has strong associations to the world renowned Kampmann Stud in Germany, where the philosophy is to use the best bloodlines to breed strong, competitive, rideable horses. He remains an active and successful competitor on the international dressage circuit riding the studs Westphalian, Festival, among others, on whom he has achieved wins at Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Kur. He is also Sporting Adviser for `equestrian issues` for the Kampmann Cup series and the Lingen International Festival of Dressage. As the national trainer of the Danish team since 1997, he is now an integral element in the sucess of Danish riders in the world’s elite.

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Rudolf Zeilinger Horses

Festival 39, Franziskus 8

Rudolf Zeilinger Competition Results

4 - Wroclaw, Partynice, GP - 14/09/2007 - Festival 39
4 - Wroclaw, Partynice, GPKür - 14/09/2007 - Festival 39
6 - Oldenburg, GPSpecial - 11/08/2007 - Festival 39
5 - Oldenburg, Gp - 11/08/2007 - Festival 39
10 - Lingen, GPSpecial - 22/06/2007 - Festival 39
15 - Lingen, GP - 22/06/2007 - Festival 39
11 - Dortmund, GP - 04/05/2007 - Franziskus 8
5 - Dortmund, GPSpecial - 04/05/2007 - Franziskus 8
9 - Bremen, GPKür - 10/04/2007 - Festival 39
11 - Bremen, Gp - 10/04/2007 - Festival 39 Rudolf Zeilinger – Blue Hors Romanov
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